Connecting the ... posts.

Making sense of the "mess of posts". It takes a while to get all the custom pieces in place. My primary job was to finish notches with a chisel so that the rails set just right on the cross braces.

It's still got some more smaller cross pieces for the tops and the actual "fence" part, but you get the idea now.

Fresh herbs for the garden and post alley

It's so cute with plants in it! The client wasted no time planting her herbs and flowers and had them planted on the first day after it was ready. There is still plenty of work to do as the entire area is set for a design, but this one bit is complete.

The next step is building the new fence that will incorporate more of the garden. Previously the focus was a large circular drive that was not even used. If you ask me, a garden is much better than a driveway could ever be. The photo may not make any sense at all but trust me, we have a grand plan. Where all the dirt is that you see used to be asphalt. It was removed with a pry bar and a sledgehammer (the old fashioned way) and is actually beneath the area where you saw the planter reused to get the proper grade level for the planter area and the circular patio.
So here is the next step... post alley. The garden will have a "proper entrance" as all spaces should. What looks like a mess of posts (post on pipe construction) will make perfect sense when the fence is up and has its hand made pergolas and trellises.

The fence boards are special because they are milled from fallen cedar trees from a family farmland rather than clearcut wood. I like to call it free range organic sustainably harvested just to be a show off. (I am. :)

Thanks for your interest, I will have more for you soon!

I saw you at the Edmonds Art Festival!

Okay, so here I am browsing around the Edmonds (near Seattle) Art Festival and I swear I have seen these things before! It's like Etsy live and it was fantastic to see things up close and in person. I bought some things too, and it was fun. For the longest time I have been looking for a wall pocket for flowers. As a cat mama I have to keep exciting looking things off the tables, so table vases don't really get used anymore, but I have plenty of flowers to cut and bring inside.

I was browsing and found some that I swear I had seen before. When I got home, I checked the website printed on the "brand new from the box" business cards and he totally has an Etsy shop. One I had already hearted :) (And he's really nice too!)
I got myself a wall vase and James went back for something I had been eying since I turn 33 soon.

Among the other artists that were there, some of whom sell on Etsy:
Convergence Design (Etsy Shop)Abraxus Crow Company
Great dimensional metal sculpture featuring crows, but they have lots more too!

Marcio Diaz
Phenomenal Nicaraguan artist. His abstract paintings are really unique and striking. You just have to see them in person, they really are great!

Stubborn Design Works by Melissa Stiles
Bold nature inspired colors and patterns set into silver, and wonderful felt bags

Deborah Bridges of Sacred Stone
Stay tuned, this WILL be in our garden one of these days. James was thinking submerged into the pond. Oooh, spooky :)

William Vanscoy
I would love to stare at one of his works some day. Each year we look at his booth and hope that at one point we will get to bring one home.

It was fun, there was lots to see, and many calories to consume. I wore my TP necklace and passed out some cards to those who commented. I bought a few things too, it's only right to support fellow artists. So next time you are at a fair, buy a little something :)

OMG I won something!

Way back in third grade I had a teacher named Mrs. Brown (maybe it was fourth grade...) and she told me I was a Riot. Now, she had a positive look on her face when she said it but I had no idea what it meant. They had these big books called dictionaries back then and I had to look it up.

So basically, she was using some strange word to say I was funny. Maybe she was trying to get me to use the class dictionary, I dunno.

Anyway, so I enter the Etsy Beadweavers challenge (that posts on the Beadweavers Blog) somewhat regularly just to be present and I enjoy how supportive the group is even though I don't spend much time chatting it up. Life is busy these days. The competition is really high and everyone does some fantastically intricate work that is just astounding! This month the theme was "humor". Well, I am a riot so I had better get my weaving in gear and make a little funny.

Well, it worked, it is funny by popular vote :) Yay! Beadweavers June Challenge post link

Leafing an impression :)

Continuation of a landscape design installation in sunny (?) Seattle Washington.
Its done! Okay, a small portion is done, but that counts. (And the flower doesn't stink anymore.)
Another great thing about stucco is it has a life of it's own. It draws on the light around it and really reflects depending on the texture and stroke that it was applied with. It even ages, like a fine wine. As it wears, it develops a efflorescence as the minerals come to the surface. It's complicated but basically, it doesn't stay the same, and most people are used to things staying somewhat constant. We have to let people know ahead of time when they choose stucco as a material that it is not anything like paint, and it will change as it ages depending on the environment that it is in.
Oh, what are the holes in the wall? This planter is table height to make gardening easy for the client. As an added feature the walls have spots for removable kneeling boards (made with clear cedar) that can be placed into the holes.

The curve of the planter nestles into the curve of the patio. They like each other :) Irrigation has been prepped as well (that's the tubes that you see) and will be set on timers to make the garden as worry free as we can.Prepare for a personal rant: Timed irrigation is a must in the gardens we plant because really, do you want to go out at 10 and 3 every day to water each plant? No, you don't. You may say you do, but I am telling you... it's just a chore after a while. Plus, it's really fun to hear the irrigation do it's first little spurts of water when it goes on. AND! the landscape designer has each plant set to a certain watering so nothing is over or under watered. That is why you hire a professional. Bonus feature, we take out lawns. Because again, do you really want to spend your Saturdays mowing the lawn? (not to mention aerating, weeding, trimming, watering, and on and on when the lawn looks like....the way it does anyway, waste of time if you ask me. Yeah, I have an opinion :) Now if everyone would take out their lawns, we wouldn't have to listen to the mowers all day Saturday either. Okay, I'll quit and look back at the planter photos now :)

Yup. I want one.

Saturate me!

The world is just better in color. Technicolor understood this, and you should too. :) Of course at this point you are way past Technicolor and may have a TV bigger than most large dogs. So yes, you understand.

And because color alone is not enough, I always like to add texture and pattern. Eventually in this garden 2 large maple trees will need to be removed. It's okay because they are in really sad shape and have been hacked to bits by the electrical company. Why we plant trees under wires is beyond me. Why the wires are not underground to eliminate the need to alter our tree planting is even further beyond me. I mean save the trouble (trees falling, constant limb trimming, wind, downed lines) and just find a reasonable way to put them underground. Plus they are darn ugly and I could go on but I will step down because this post is about stucco :) So these trees will still be used in the garden, and as acknowledgment of their service to the world their leaves are being memorialized into the stucco texture. They will either be used as woodchips in the raised planter area, or the clients may have them made into furniture if they are able. There is a company called Urban Hardwoods that makes some great items out of "discarded" trees.
This is the stucco coat in progress. James goes along and presses it onto the wall, and I get to smooth it out to get the texture we are going for. I also press in leaves that were chosen from the maple trees. (There are 3 Ginkgo leaves in it as well because, it's what we do.) The leaves are carefully smoothed over and when the stucco has set just right, I pull them out and with some luck (technique) they come out perfect. I love how they make a matte texture in the wall.
But there you have the color, with the stone caps in place and all that fun stuff.

A fun find in the garden. In the process of working in a persons garden, we tend to watch plants. At a certain point we have to decide what stays, and what goes. In most gardens, things are at such a sad state that it all goes. This one is a little different. Clearly a plant lover has lived here in the past and has planted some really unusual species. Not necessarily rare, but different than the typical Northwest Rhododendron and Juniper combination.

Here is a plant we had been watching to see what the heck it was. The flower finally came out today and it is just so cool! I know you want one! Okay, so this plant has a secret. Well, it's a secret to those of you who don't already know what it is, or cannot smell it over the computer.

Look closely...
See the flies? Yeah, so it smells like doodie. Here we are trying to stucco and wondering how a dog got into the fenced garden...

However, despite that, I still want it! It's cool looking! I have enough space in our garden to plant it somewhere away from paths and things. And it will certainly stand out from there. Definetly not a courtyard plant though. It only stinks for a day, like a yearly event to mark on the calender. Like waiting for the first crocus of spring, right?

Dracunculus vulgaris, a phallic gothic stinking plant that I think is too cool! (Yeah, they call those kinda looking plants amorphophallus. Wanna see more?)

Weaving up a little Funny

Among the wonderful things about Etsy (that place where I sell my stuff, pay attention people) are that there are teams. As part of the addiction I have join several. They are all great teams, and my local Seattle Etsy Rain team, while I have not been as involved as I would like to, is really active and has regular meetup events around the Puget Sound. Hi EtsyRain! :)

Another team I am in is the Etsy Beadweavers. It's not easy to sell beadweaving because it tends to be expensive considering the many hours, weeks, months, or even years that it takes to complete a fine work. The beadweavers blog and team are a great way to share the love of itty bitty beads with the world. There are some fantastic artists out there and I admire all the great work that people create. (Wanna see the Etsy Beadweavers work on Etsy? Search EBW)
Each month the Beadweavers have a challenge based on a theme. While I love to create complex weaves (while my wrist will allow it) with intricate patterns and classy, elaborate designs... the theme this month was "humor". Now I'm a silly person, my people know that about me. And humor is something I maintain as part of my own self preservation among the busy insanity of things. So this month, my weave was not so classy or intricate or elaborate, cause I was going for funny.

And hey, you can vote for your favorite! Voting is from the 9th (for you who are prompt readers, that's today) thru the 15th.

Go here: The Etsy Beadweavers Blog June Challenge
To vote for your favorite:

Big bold changes, coming soon!

It's almost time and I cannot wait! Okay, I can wait. I can wait because tomorrow is supposed to be ninety degrees out. That's 32.2 degrees for those of you who do things the easier way. We have been working in the heat and I have been feeling rather unladylike, but then again this is construction in hot temps. Maybe we should plant cacti.

So here is the completed patio, isn't she pretty!? I want one for my own garden and so far all we do is install them for other people. At least we have plenty of practice. With luck we will get to it this year, probably while it is snowing as it is when we don't have many "build me a garden" requests.

The circular paver patio was sealed with a semi porous material that sets the stones in place but can also be easily removed if necessary. The nest right into the raised garden planter. In time, as budget allows, there will be another planter set off the patio at which time some stones will be pulled to install that next planter. I don't want to think about it. :)

By the end of the day today the wall capstones were set on the wall, but It was 500 degrees out and I was a mess so I decided not to fuss with the camera. You will get your photo, don't worry. The process for making the capstones involves cutting a paver on each side so that they lay right next to each other just so. It takes all day, but it looks fantastic when they are so nice and tidy. We have them all layed where they are going, and tomorrow will be mortaring them in place so they become one with the wall. See a capped wall here. See lots of capped walls here.

(Wanna see the whole darn landscape website? We have one, with before and after shots, click the portfolio section)

Then.... comes the pretty part. We are experamenting with stucco colors and mediums to make samples. Another fun and exciting thing about the heat is certain stucco mediums don't do all that great when they are drying so darn fast. Lower temps and heavy overcast is my favorite for stucco. Strangely enough, that is the norm for Seattle. I don't know why it is 20 -30 degrees hotter than usual (or at least I am not going to go on about it here).

Here is one of the samples we were working with. I always like the more saturated colors best. The stand out and offer great contrast to the greenery.

Stay tuned :)